My dead uncle Bud was wierder than we thought...

I described his isolation and funeral arrangements in this thread.

My sister spent a day cleaning at his house. She learned:

  1. The Chicago police hauled away 9 squadcar loads of weapons after discovering his body. His neightbor said they looked military, but we’ve yet to get an inventory from the police for it all. My sister found two more handguns in the process of going through his desk, which was largely loaded with ammunition. She also found several hundred blank gun license permit applications.
  2. There was a room full of large unidentified chemical containers, one of which looks like black powder explosive.
  3. There was not a single chair to be sat on in the house. Uncle bud apparently sat on his bed and the toilet, that’s it.
  4. Execpt for the chemical room, every room un the house is stacked floor to ceiling with milk crates, several deep. So deep that there is a single narrow foot trail through a milk crate canyon in the ENTIRE house.
  5. He had about 100K in the bank, yet she could see through the 1st floor ceiling up into the 2nd floor in several places.
  6. He bought the house next door, and filled up up like his own place. It will literally be months til people have a chance to even look at everything, let alone dispose of it.
  7. His other next door neightbor, who’s lived there for 15 years, only saw my uncle once, and never spoke to him.
  8. She saw bills from the water company; estimates based on the size of the home because he refused to let in a meter reading or to send in the readings himself.
  9. Most of the visible milk crates are filled clothes, canned food, VHS tapes, and HO model trains (maybe thousands of them).
  10. There are 4 cars in his back yard, which is so overgrown that no one can get close enough to them to identify what kind of cars they are.

I feel so bad for my cousin, who’s been pressed into taking charge of his affairs mostly because she’s a school teacher on summer break. This is going to take a LOT longer to clean up than til the end of summer break.

Wow. Sounds like the Collier brothers’ house. :eek:


Ran, it’s “Collyer” not “Collier.”

That is all.

Wow. Sounds like a bummer for the elected cousin, and the whole family.

Black powder is commercially available, so that wouldn’t surprise me too much. It’s fairly safe stuff.

Reading the other thread and this one brings up another question: who found him, and how’d they know? Sounds like it could have been longer.

I already worry about someone having to go through my junk, and I’m nowhere near the milk crate stage.

All I know about my stuff is that I want Hamish to go under my bed and through my hard drive before my parents do. That is all.

(reference the scene from the British Queer as Folk)

Wikkit, he was found by the police based on a call by the postal carrier. The mail was piling up in the box, and after a couple of weeks, the carrier reported it.

Oh, and I forgot the really strange thing. His refrigerator was entirely full of packs of processed American cheese, and nothing else.

I have not heard of the Collyer brothers. What’s up with that?

mmmmm… 64 kilos of American cheese…

I’d be interested to know (sorry if it’s nosey):

  1. What was his source of income?
  2. Did he ever have a job?
  3. How long did he live on his own (after his parents died)?
  4. What was their relationship like?
  5. Was he ever evaluated for mental illness or intellectual disability?
  1. He was a retired (2-3 years ago) auto mechanic
  2. See #1.
  3. My grandmother died in 1978 or 79, she was in a rest home for maybe 3 or 4 years before that.
  4. Don’t really know.
  5. Don’t know. I don’t remember any behavior or conversation to indicate mental impairment. He was articulate and could participate in a conversation.

Retired auto mechanic? Must have been some pension he got …

The Collyer Brothers.

Well, if you neglect your house to the point of having no furniture, holes looking into the second floor, and spend the bare minimum on keeping yourself alive, then you can easily accumulate $100K plus money for an extra house over 20 or so years.

Well, you’re not the only one.

I’m not trying to play topper here, okay?

When my father-in-law died a few years ago his wife decided it was time to move to a retirement community (she was 68 at the time). Simple enough, right?

Lady Chance and I, along with her brother and his wife got drafted to clean up and fix up the family home for eventual sale. No worries.

We found (and this can’t really compete) over 100 white button down shirts still in the wrapper in his office, a similar number of socks (black) and ties (green). I guess you can’t be too ready to head for the office.

But we also found, taped to rafters, inside hollowed out books, stapled to the back of bookshelves, etc…

10 envelopes with 50 $20 bills each. For those scoring at home that’s $10,000.

So that set us off.

We also found over 3,000 pounds worth of british bank notes dated from the 1950’s (he was from a farm outside of Belfast).

over 200 silver dollars from the 1880s *inside an empty coffee tin in his office next to his model trains.

A collection of gold and silver coins from around the world in a baggie in his desk drawer.

I think my mother-in-law refurbished the house for sale with all that stuff.

Sure makes you look hard though. And it was sort of fun.

But weird, man, weird.

Wow, sounds like he may have been paranoid that someone would attack him. Maybe he built mazes with the crates so that he could easily hide and defend himself in a gun battle. Hence, the guns, explosives, etc. He stocked up on cheese just in case he was holed up for a while.

I had a really bad joke about packing and cheese, but then I decided against it…

Wow. I don’t have a story quite like that, but a little similar.

When my Grandmother passed away a couple years ago, we had to search the house with enough thoroughness to make the FBI enviable. She had a habit of stashing money, everywhere.

I remember as a kid making the bed in the spare room (a hide-a-bed) and finding 20s coming out of the couch. There was also pieces of base-board that were not attached to the wall anymore that were used as hiding spaces.

If memory serves, we recovered a few grand (in relatively small bills… nothing larger than a 20) when we searched it.

My husband has an aunt and uncle who don’t trust banks. They bury rolls of cash in coffee cans in their yard - usually under abandoned cars. Someone - rumored to be one of their grandkids - dug up and removed a can with about $10K in it. And yet they still won’t put the money in the bank. Too weird.

yojimbo – I’d go help and see if it was possible to purchase the trains!

The link for the Collyer Brothers did not work for me. I read about them in Smithsonian in the last two years. Came with pictures. Very bizarre and intriguing.
Anyhoo, about your Uncle, his pack rat mentality (hoarding everything) usually comes from those who survived great economic strife.

Add an l to the end of the url that Eve posted - or just click here.